Now that we're a few weeks into 2015, how are you doing with your New Year's resolution? Many people start each year with ambitions to take on an aggressive workout regimen or lose a lot of weight but by now are already falling back into their old habits.
So, are you better off not setting goals at all? Don't give up say the experts. The trick is to choose a meaningful goal and break it down into small steps that are achievable. Focusing on improving your health is always a wise choice. Here are some suggestions and tips from our experts.
Make Exercise Fun
Getting more exercise is always a facet of good health. But for many people, lying on the couch is much more appealing than going to the gym.
"That's why you need to make it fun," says Dr. Ryan Zerr, a family practice physician with St. Francis Family Health Care.
Zerr recommends adding more activity to your life in 2015 if exercise is a turnoff. "Rather than thinking that you need to run 30 minutes every other day, what if you instead participated in fun activities?" he asks. "In normal winter months, sledding is a good choice but with the weather so nice any kind of outdoor activity is a plus. If you're not even a fan of cool weather, check out some of the activities at the community center or go bowling!"
Even a day trip that includes physical activity can have health benefits. For example, walk through a museum in St. Joseph, Kansas City or Omaha, or enjoy a swim in an indoor waterpark.
"The idea is to move as much as possible," says Zerr. "Ideally you want to do something active four to six days a week. But if that's too much, set a smaller goal and work towards your larger goal throughout the year."
If you're the competitive-type or want to keep track of your activity and have a smartphone, there are lots of cool apps to try. Lot of apps available that will keep track of distance, calories burned and how frequently you are exercising, making it easy to monitor progress toward your goal
Kids can get in on the fun, too. Zerr says games like "Just Dance" can help you work up a sweat without even realizing you're exercising!
A resolution to make healthier food choices is common, but also frequently tossed aside. So are there any ways to make your nutritional goals stick?
"The biggest thing you need to keep in mind is make your goals specific. If you say you're going to eat healthier that's a tough goal. But maybe you want to quit drinking soda or move from five a day to one a day. Those are more manageable goals. And once your goal becomes hard-wired - in about 60-90 days - then you can move on to something else," says Julie Livengood, dietitian with St. Francis Hospital & Health Services.
To make an even bigger impact, Livengood recommends writing your top three goals down. Then decide in what order you'll work on them. It'll make you feel good to cross them off as they're accomplished. She recommends the following to get you started:
- Try to eat three brightly colored foods a day
- Swap a processed snack with fresh fruit or dried fruit
- Cook at home one night a week
- Try a new seasonal fruit or vegetable each week
- Switch all white pasta and rice to the whole grained variety
- Replace butter in your recipes with olive oil
"And if you're into new technology, this is definitely a tool you'll want to include," adds Livengood. "Smartphone apps like Fooducate are great resources to help you eat healthier. And websites like choosemyplate.gov can help steer you in the right direction."
After accomplishing your exercise and nutrition goals, 2015 could turn out to be your best year yet!
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